One of the perks so to speak of living in a prosperous country is the abundance of everything. There is so much stuff you can accumulate. Clothes, dishes, paintings, music, furniture on and on. At some point all this stuff can become clutter. First let’s establish what clutter is. Clutter is a crowded or confused mass or collection
The older we get the more life we have lived and the more we have accumulated. Spiritually, knowledge and yes possessions. You picked up a shell at a beach on your vacation you kept it, it’s in your house somewhere, and the vacation was 8 years ago…. I think you get my point. As individuals with anxiety for us we should from time to time take an accounting of what we own and categorize it into needs and wants.
Now at no point am I going to tell you what you should need and what you should want that’s completely up to the individual. That said, as you read this take a look around your surroundings. How many singular items can you count? Let’s assume you are at a PC, so each speaker, keyboard, and chair, monitor, on and on. Now count the wires, add it to the total. Did you count the desk or table the pc was on? The point of the exercise is, is to reveal to you just how much stuff we all really have.
Of course this entire concept is predicated on degrees. I mean if you are a single person and have 30 drinking glasses I would say that is excessive. A family of 6 is 30 excessive? Maybe not. Clutter takes up visual space and in a lot of cases emotional space as well. We have ascribed a memory or feeling to these items, like our shell we got from the beach 8 years ago. This isn’t meant to minimalize or trivialize any of that.
More important it’s meant to reveal to you that by accumulating more stuff, you create the possibility of obtaining clutter. Clutter then becomes a distraction to the anxious mind as you have more and more tangible items to concentrate on that you have assigned an intangible benefit too. Sure some mementos are irreplaceable and you can’t disassociate the emotion from them. But sometimes, more stuff is a mask to a larger issue. Sometimes more stuff is a distraction so you don’t have to let go of past memories.
There is a simple exercise you can employ should you think clutter is impacting your life negatively. Pack as if you were going to move. That’s right, pack up your stuff into boxes, the whole 9 yards do the exercise. Label the boxes, etc. Then let them sit in the rooms in which you packed them in and give it 2-4 weeks. At the end of the time period see how many things you had to pull out of the box. I’m betting you find it’s less than 50% of the stuff you own.
Is that other 50% clutter? Could be, you certainly didn’t need it for the last 2-4 weeks did you?
Interested in more posts on anxiety and Clutter? Check out my post here.